Disaster Rank by State

Since 1953, 60 years of data reveal that there have been 2,115 “Major Disaster Declarations” in the United States according to government statistics listed by FEMA.

You may be surprised to discover the list of states that rank higher than the rest with regard to number of disasters once you factor in population and land area…

Once you divide the number of major disasters by land area, population, or both… the results may not be what you may have thought…

The logic that I’ve used to rank the states that are apparently most and least likely to suffer major disasters is simple, but interesting and telling nonetheless.

Just bear in mind that in order to determine more detailed rank than what is shown below, one would have to consider additional factors including severity and frequency of occurrence, economic impact, loss of life, and other data.


State Disaster Rank (overall)

(# disasters / population per million) x (# disasters / per thousand sq. miles)

This list uses the raw FEMA data (the list at the bottom) and then factors the state population and land area. The worst states (with higher probability to affect people based on the formula above) are listed first.


StateMajority of disasters
1VermontSevere storms, Flooding  214
2DelawareHurricanes  125
3Rhode IslandHurricanes  121
4New HampshireSevere storms, Flooding    82
5HawaiiSevere storms, Flooding    80
6West VirginiaSevere storms, Flooding, Landslides    55
7MaineSevere storms, Flooding    40
8North DakotaSevere storms, Flooding    37
9South DakotaSevere storms, Flooding    26
10OklahomaSevere stroms, Tornadoes    21
11ConnecticutSevere storms, Flooding    20
12New JerseySevere storms, Flooding    20
13ArkansasSevere storms, Tornadoes, Flooding    19
14MississippiSevere storms, Tornadoes, Flooding    19
15KentuckySevere storms, Flooding    18
16LouisianaSevere storms, Hurricanes    18
17MassachusettsSevere storms, Flooding    16
18NebraskaSevere storms, Tornadoes, Flooding    15
19IowaSevere storms, Flooding    14
20AlabamaSevere storms, Tornadoes, Flooding    13
21KansasSevere storms, Tornadoes, Flooding    10
22TennesseeSevere storms, Tornadoes, Flooding    10
23MarylandHurricanes, Severe storms    10
24IndianaSevere storms, Flooding      7
25MissouriSevere storms, Flooding      7
26VirginiaSevere storms, Flooding      7
27MinnesotaSevere storms, Flooding      6
28New YorkSevere storms, Flooding      5
29OhioSevere storms, Flooding      5
30WashingtonSevere storms, Flooding, Landslides      5
31WisconsinSevere storms, Tornadoes, Flooding      4
32FloridaHurricanes      4
33PennsylvaniaSevere storms, Flooding      4
34IdahoFlooding      4
35IllinoisSevere storms, Flooding      4
36AlaskaSevere storms, Flooding, Landslides      4
37North CarolinaHurricanes      3
38MontanaSevere storms, Flooding      3
39New MexicoSevere storms, Flooding      2
40GeorgiaSevere storms, Tornadoes      2
41OregonSevere storms, Flooding      2
42South CarolinaHurricanes      2
43WyomingSevere storms, Flooding      1
44TexasSevere storms, Tornadoes, Hurricanes      1
45MichiganSevere storms, Flooding      1
46CaliforniaSevere storms, Flooding, Landslides      1
47NevadaSevere storms, Flooding      1
48ArizonaSevere storms, Flooding      1
49ColoradoSevere storms, Flooding      1
50UtahSevere storms, Flooding      1


State Disaster Rank (per population)

(# disasters / population per million people)

This list factors only the population of each state while disregarding land area.


1North DakotaSevere storms, Flooding  60
2VermontSevere storms, Flooding  57
3AlaskaSevere storms, Flooding, Landslides  54
4South DakotaSevere storms, Flooding  50
5MaineSevere storms, Flooding  31
6West VirginiaSevere storms, Flooding, Landslides  26
7NebraskaSevere storms, Tornadoes, Flooding  25
8New HampshireSevere storms, Flooding  24
9MontanaSevere storms, Flooding  21
10OklahomaSevere stroms, Tornadoes  19
11ArkansasSevere storms, Tornadoes, Flooding  19
12HawaiiSevere storms, Flooding  19
13MississippiSevere storms, Tornadoes, Flooding  17
14KansasSevere storms, Tornadoes, Flooding  17
15DelawareHurricanes  17
16IowaSevere storms, Flooding  16
17WyomingSevere storms, Flooding  15
18IdahoFlooding  14
19LouisianaSevere storms, Hurricanes  13
20KentuckySevere storms, Flooding  13
21New MexicoSevere storms, Flooding  12
22AlabamaSevere storms, Tornadoes, Flooding  12
23Rhode IslandHurricanes  11
24MinnesotaSevere storms, Flooding    9
25MissouriSevere storms, Flooding    9
26TennesseeSevere storms, Tornadoes, Flooding    8
27OregonSevere storms, Flooding    7
28WashingtonSevere storms, Flooding, Landslides    7
29WisconsinSevere storms, Tornadoes, Flooding    6
30IndianaSevere storms, Flooding    6
31NevadaSevere storms, Flooding    6
32VirginiaSevere storms, Flooding    6
33ConnecticutSevere storms, Flooding    5
34MassachusettsSevere storms, Flooding    4
35OhioSevere storms, Flooding    4
36North CarolinaHurricanes    4
37MarylandHurricanes, Severe storms    4
38IllinoisSevere storms, Flooding    4
39New JerseySevere storms, Flooding    4
40UtahSevere storms, Flooding    4
41PennsylvaniaSevere storms, Flooding    4
42GeorgiaSevere storms, Tornadoes    4
43ArizonaSevere storms, Flooding    4
44TexasSevere storms, Tornadoes, Hurricanes    3
45New YorkSevere storms, Flooding    3
46FloridaHurricanes    3
47ColoradoSevere storms, Flooding    3
48South CarolinaHurricanes    3
49MichiganSevere storms, Flooding    3
50CaliforniaSevere storms, Flooding, Landslides    2


State Disaster Rank (per square miles)

(# disasters / per 1,000 square miles)

This list factors only the land area of each state while disregarding population.


1CaliforniaSevere storms, Flooding, Landslides  11.0
2TexasSevere storms, Tornadoes, Hurricanes    7.5
3KansasSevere storms, Tornadoes, Flooding    5.0
4New MexicoSevere storms, Flooding    4.3
5IdahoFlooding    3.8
6AlaskaSevere storms, Flooding, Landslides    3.8
7North DakotaSevere storms, Flooding    3.6
8MontanaSevere storms, Flooding    3.4
9IowaSevere storms, Flooding    2.4
10ArizonaSevere storms, Flooding    2.1
11AlabamaSevere storms, Tornadoes, Flooding    1.4
12NebraskaSevere storms, Tornadoes, Flooding    1.4
13South DakotaSevere storms, Flooding    1.4
14NevadaSevere storms, Flooding    1.3
15MichiganSevere storms, Flooding    1.2
16PennsylvaniaSevere storms, Flooding    1.2
17FloridaHurricanes    1.2
18North CarolinaHurricanes    1.1
19WashingtonSevere storms, Flooding, Landslides    1.1
20IllinoisSevere storms, Flooding    1.1
21MinnesotaSevere storms, Flooding    1.1
22OregonSevere storms, Flooding    1.1
23LouisianaSevere storms, Hurricanes    1.1
24UtahSevere storms, Flooding    1.0
25OhioSevere storms, Flooding    0.9
26MissouriSevere storms, Flooding    0.9
27VirginiaSevere storms, Flooding    0.8
28WisconsinSevere storms, Tornadoes, Flooding    0.8
29MississippiSevere storms, Tornadoes, Flooding    0.7
30New YorkSevere storms, Flooding    0.7
31ArkansasSevere storms, Tornadoes, Flooding    0.6
32South CarolinaHurricanes    0.6
33OklahomaSevere stroms, Tornadoes    0.6
34ColoradoSevere storms, Flooding    0.6
35GeorgiaSevere storms, Tornadoes    0.6
36WyomingSevere storms, Flooding    0.5
37MarylandHurricanes, Severe storms    0.5
38New JerseySevere storms, Flooding    0.5
39MassachusettsSevere storms, Flooding    0.4
40New HampshireSevere storms, Flooding    0.3
41West VirginiaSevere storms, Flooding, Landslides    0.3
42TennesseeSevere storms, Tornadoes, Flooding    0.3
43MaineSevere storms, Flooding    0.2
44ConnecticutSevere storms, Flooding    0.2
45DelawareHurricanes    0.2
46HawaiiSevere storms, Flooding    0.2
47IndianaSevere storms, Flooding    0.1
48Rhode IslandHurricanes    0.1
49VermontSevere storms, Flooding    0.1
50KentuckySevere storms, Flooding    0.1


FEMA raw data

(# disasters)

The number of major disasters listed by FEMA per state.


1TexasSevere storms, Tornadoes, Hurricanes86
2CaliforniaSevere storms, Flooding, Landslides78
3OklahomaSevere stroms, Tornadoes74
4New YorkSevere storms, Flooding67
6LouisianaSevere storms, Hurricanes60
7AlabamaSevere storms, Tornadoes, Flooding57
8KentuckySevere storms, Flooding56
9ArkansasSevere storms, Tornadoes, Flooding54
10MissouriSevere storms, Flooding53
11MississippiSevere storms, Flooding52
12IllinoisSevere storms, Tornadoes, Flooding52
13TennesseeSevere storms, Tornadoes, Flooding51
14West VirginiaSevere storms, Flooding50
15MinnesotaSevere storms, Flooding, Landslides50
16IowaSevere storms, Flooding49
17KansasSevere storms, Tornadoes, Flooding49
18PennsylvaniaSevere storms, Flooding48
19NebraskaSevere storms, Tornadoes, Flooding47
20VirginiaSevere storms, Flooding47
21OhioSevere storms, Flooding47
22WashingtonSevere storms, Flooding, Landslides46
23North DakotaSevere storms, Flooding42
24MaineSevere storms, Flooding40
25South DakotaSevere storms, Flooding40
27North CarolinaSevere storms, Flooding40
28AlaskaSevere storms, Flooding, Landslides38
29WisconsinSevere storms, Tornadoes36
30GeorgiaSevere storms, Tornadoes, Flooding36
31New JerseySevere storms, Flooding35
32VermontSevere storms, Flooding34
33New HampshireSevere storms, Flooding31
34MassachusettsSevere storms, Flooding29
35OregonSevere storms, Flooding28
36HawaiiSevere storms, Flooding26
37New MexicoSevere storms, Flooding25
38MichiganSevere storms, Flooding25
39MarylandHurricanes, Severe storms24
40IdahoSevere storms, Flooding23
42MontanaSevere storms, Flooding21
43ConnecticutSevere storms, Flooding19
44NevadaSevere storms, Flooding17
45ColoradoSevere storms, Flooding17
47South CarolinaHurricanes15
48Rhode IslandHurricanes11
49UtahSevere storms, Flooding11
50WyomingSevere storms, Flooding9